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Derry school staff finish two days of active shooter training

By Ryan Lessard
Union Leader Correspondent

June 19. 2018 10:54PM




DERRY — About 500 staff and faculty members at Derry Cooperative School District schools took part in a daylong training on how to respond to an active shooter emergency.

District Business Administrator Jane Simard said this was the first time staff had a full day to train and do drills on active shooter threats. Usually, teachers and staff members spend 1.5 to 2 hours training at a time.

“This is just a supplement to the training that we already do,” Simard said.

Simard and Superintendent MaryAnn Connors-Krikorian worked together with Derry police to plan the event.

The staff was broken up into two groups. The first group trained at the Gilbert H. Hood Middle School on Monday, and the second group trained at the Ernest P. Barka Elementary School on Tuesday.

“The feedback from the staff was that it was an outstanding day of professional development,” Simard said.

The details of the emergency plans, which were provided through a combination of slideshow presentations and role-playing drills, are kept confidential.

Capt. Vernon Thomas with Derry police said if the details were made public it could threaten the safety of school staff and students.

“Because that makes it easily defeated,” Thomas said.

Thomas provided the training with officer Jeffrey Dawe, a school resource officer assigned to Pinkerton Academy, and Sgt. Shawn O’Donaghue, a tactical officer on the SWAT team.

The district regularly has another school resource officer assigned to the two middle schools. Thomas said if an officer is present during an active shooter scenario, that officer’s prime directive is “to stop what’s happening there.”

Police and school officials created a plan in the early 2000s and Thomas said not much has changed with those plans. The training is necessary to keep it fresh in the minds of staff and to catch up new staff on the protocols.

“This was a good opportunity to (train) without interference from a regular school day,” Thomas said.

Thomas remarked on how focused and attentive the group was.

A 20-minute version of a Stop the Bleed training, which goes over tourniquet use and other ways to help a bleeding victim, was delivered by the Derry Fire Department’s EMS director, Charles Hemeon.

ldnews@unionleader.com


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